Benson’s research group studies the complex sets of host and dietary factors that collectively influence composition and function of the gut microbiome. In collaboration with statisticians, computational biologists, and animal geneticists, Benson’s research program has focused on understanding how individual genetics can influence the microbiome and how dietary factors can modify the impact of host genetics, most likely through a direct impact of diet on the gut microbiome. Benson’s group is also spearheading the discovery component of the Nebraska Food for Health Center using complex trait analysis in crop plants to define components and molecules that can impact the gut microbiome of humans. Working closely with center members in plant genetics, statistics, and glycobiology, his team uses in vitro microbiomes in high-throughput screens of milled grains from large genetic resource populations of crop plants.
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